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Treasures of the Archives: Black Panthers on the steps of the Legislative Building.

“Black Panthers on steps of Legislative Building, Olympia,” State Governors’ Negative Collection 1949-1975, Photographs, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives.

“Black Panthers on steps of Legislative Building, Olympia,” State Governors’ Negative Collection 1949-1975, Photographs, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov.

This striking photograph, “Black Panthers on steps of Legislative Building, Olympia” is a snapshot of a larger story. In February, 1969 the state legislature was reviewing a law that restricted individual’s right to carry unconcealed weapons. The Black Panther Party of Seattle informed the public of their intent to protest the law, and in response Governor Evans called out the National Guard.

Treasures of the Archives: The Loss of Kettle Falls

“Fishing for Salmon at the Kettle Falls,” 1910-1940, Kettle Falls History Center Photographs, Crossroads on the Columbia, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives.

“Fishing for Salmon at the Kettle Falls,” 1910-1940, Kettle Falls History Center Photographs, Crossroads on the Columbia, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov.

When the gates of the newly constructed Grand Coulee Dam closed in 1939, the waters of the mighty Columbia River began to back up behind the dam. As the waters rose, farms, historic sites, and ten small agricultural towns were lost to the rising floodwaters forming behind the colossal dam.

Perhaps the most important site lost was Kettle Falls. Shaped by enormous quartzite blocks, the impressive falls were an important part of regional native culture. As spawning salmon migrated up the Columbia River to their summer breeding grounds, they would leap up the falls. For thousands of years American Indians from all over the region travelled to Kettle Falls to fish and engage in trade and social reunions. Thousands of fish could be caught in a single day by the many Indians who shored the fishing camps beside Kettle Falls.

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